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Royal Garrison Artillery

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1914/15 entries

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13 December


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26 December


27 December -
3 January




35th Heavy Battery R.G.A. (aged 27 at time of writing)


SATURDAY DECEMBER 12th

Got on to the guns at 6.30 a.m. Made wooden platforms for them and generally started to settle in. At 11 a.m. a colonel (whom I afterwards found to Col. Onslow, F.F.A., commanding a brigade R.F.A.) rode into my section and began cursing because the two sections were in separate positions in the field. "Did I think the whole country was for us" etc. etc. He did not get much change out of me. I did not know who he was and said my Major had put me there and I had not the slightest intention of shifting without his orders.

He then retired muttering, but re-appeared about half an hour later in a very different frame of mind, and said he was sorry to have to trouble us to move after the work we had done, but General Headlam had decided that a 4.7 battery must come in there as all the rest of the country was unfit, and he had settled it with the Major. So out we went and came into fresh positions alongside the other section and started again. Did no firing that day.


SUNDAY DECEMBER 13th - MONDAY DECEMBER 21st

Remained in action in the same position being on the guns from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in Neuve Eglise for the night. The weather was poisonous practically all the time - a lot of rain, hail, snow and very cold winds. The ground was stiff clay 2 feet down and made digging of funk pits a difficult and dirty job, especially as the water was always pouring in out of the clay. Chruickshank and I each started one behind our own sections, but after 1 day abandoned them and started a combined effort in some better ground in the centre of the battery. We worked like slaves for 3 days before we quite finished it.

It was quite a success - the water drained into a large well in one corner out of which it could be baled. There were two compartments, one to seat four officers with a table opposite and the other to take two telephonists and instrument connection to Major's observation post. We lined the whole place with straw and sacking. The only trouble was light, but I managed to construct a couple of port holes, although the glass broke about 6 times a day. Still, there was plenty of glass under the windows of neighbouring cottages.

There was a large force of artillery concentrated in this area temporarily - something like 25 heavy guns, as well as 50 or 60 field guns, so that although we did not do a great deal of firing in each battery, the total effect was pretty considerable.

On Monday 14th there was a combined bombardment of a wood, which all observers reported as being the most extraordinary sight ever seen. At the end there was no wood left at all. The Germans seemed to have very few guns firing and we only saw two of their aeroplanes the whole time, while no shell came anywhere near us, so that it was quite a peaceful spot. Curiously, the Fareham Heavy Brigade was within a mile or so during this time.

I got one gun on to an observation balloon one day and thought I did not get near enough to damage it, it retired after 5 rounds and did not reappear. The following is a summary of rounds fired:

No. of shells fired


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